Honda Civic Type R
By Bill McCarthy
LOOKING for a rip-snorting, fully blinged up full fat hot hatch with the kind of pace to set records at the famed Nurburgring Nordschleife racetrack, but with all the practicality of a family hatchback?
Throw in an affordable, relatively, price tag, then Honda’s pocket rocket rocket fits the bill. Is it successful, well yes, legendary is a word bandied around too much, but now in its fifth incarnation, it has been around for 25 years and still turns heads.
For 2020 there is the addition of two new variants, Limited Edition and Sport Line.
With the Limited Edition, Honda is unleashing the most extreme version of the car, with lightweight components, a stripped-back interior, enhanced driving dynamics and stand-out styling.
The Sport Line is designed to appeal to a customer who seeks a subtler look from their performance hatchback, with lower height rear spoiler, 19-inch alloys and an all-black interior.
All models now receive a number of styling enhancements. The front bumper is revised with a smoother design, while the lower fog light surrounds feature a new symmetrical design incorporating smooth surfaces and sleek styling blades. Redesigned full LED headlight clusters and daytime running lights complete the cleaner styling direction says Honda.
The car is aggressively styled, all sharp angles and creases, red trim and inserts, huge spoiler, triple exhaust, red Brembo brakes and with the familiar R insignia making it stand out from the crowd.
The two-litre petrol power unit has three selective drive modes and an advanced suspension system front and rear and uprated brakes to delivers exhilarating performance all the way to the redline.
You can change the way it handles by switching between modes even while driving – so when you can easily flick out of +R for a track-like experience.
For a more comfortable ride, switch to, you’ve guessed it, comfort mode, which softens the suspension and quietens the craziness down.
The 320ps of power means it can hit 62mph in just 5.7 seconds and will go on to a top speed of 169mph. It is also the fastest Type R ever around the Nurburgring Nordschleife racetrack, with a lap time of 7min 43.8sec.
The GT Pack adds red highlights to the front and rear, splitters at the rear end, where the tailpipes are positioned in the centre of the rear diffuser.
Main tailpipes on either side deliver exhaust flow from the engine, while a unique, smaller centre tailpipe controls the sonic tone of the engine.
The interior is similarly sporty, although offering more space than ever.
It has sport bucket seats, trimmed in suede-effect black fabric with red double stitching while the rear seat backs split 60/40 to increase boot space. The flat-bottomed multi-function sports steering wheel has red double stitching on the black leather, while red ambient lighting adds a further touch of class.
The centre console has piano-black finish, and hosts the seven-inch Honda CONNECT colour touch-screen display which controls navigation, climate, connectivity and infotainment and reversing camera, plus smartphone connectivity.
A small TFT screen behind the wheel gives the driver instant information while the dash can be configured for different readouts, from economy to sport, plus features the likes of a digital lap timer and even a G-force meter, should you ever need it on a shopping trip.
It’s not all about blistering pace, a neat innovation in the large boot area is the side-sliding tonneau cover, which can be operated with one hand for extra practicality.
It’s truly a driver’s car, but still offers hatchback practicality with its large boot, 60/40 split rear seats, and when driven sedately decent economy. In spite of such performance it achieves CO2 emissions of 177g/km and reasonable fuel consumption.
In addition there is automatic dual zone climate control air conditioning, and comprehensive safety measures include full complement of airbags, traction and stability control, forward collision warning, lane departure warning blind spot information and cross traffic monitoring.
A real firecracker with the added bonus is the Type R is also a perfectly good every day car, with decent economy – driven carefully of course.
Honda Civic TYPE R GT 2.0 i-VTEC
Mechanical: 318bhp, 1,996cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max speed: 167mph
0-60mph: 5.8 seconds
Combined mpg: 38.7
Insurance group: 33
CO2 emissions: 177g/km
Warranty: 3yrs/90,000 miles